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CORPORATE RESEARCH FORUM

THE POWER OF TEAMING Amy C. Edmondson | Novartis Professor of Leadership & Management | Harvard Business School


Overview 9:30-10:45

Teams and Teaming Teaming Under Pressure Putting Team Member Talents to Work Making it Safe to Team

10:45-11:15

Networking Break

11:15-12:30

Decision Making Facing Uncertainty Experiential Exercise and Debrief

12:30-1:30

Lunch

1:30-2:00

Adrian Moorhouse

2:00-3:30

Essential Interpersonal Skills for Teaming Decision Making Balancing Advocacy and Inquiry Reframing Failure for Team Resilience

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Making good decisions in management teams facing uncertainty Lessons from the Big City Phone Company

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BCPC Internet Strategy Team n Session Purpose • To have a shared experience of team decision-making – explore its opportunities and challenges.

n Uses a short, disguised management case about a

strategic decision faced by a real organization • Big City Phone Company’s Internet Strategy Team

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to


The Telco DSL

launch


Effects of Decision Paradigms: The Telco Case n Excellent provider of local and long distance (90% satisfaction)

• Well designed and well managed service model • Enormous level of predictability with finely tuned systems • Management bonuses at stake n Entered DSL after small (rural) pilot and much debate

• Full Scale Launch in Major Metro Market n Unprecedented disaster (13% satisfaction) n What went wrong was predictable

• A frequent outcome when successful, mature companies enter novel terrain

Be wary of applying old formulas in new contexts ©2012 Cutter Consortium


Why didn’t the Telco pilot prevent the failure? Because the pilot, like most pilots, was designed for success. For maximal learning, design pilots to fail‌ (yes, fail!) In effective pilots, managers can answer YES to these questions 1.

Is the pilot being tested under typical circumstances (not optimal ones)?

2.

Is the goal of the pilot to learn as much as possible (not to demonstrate the value of the new system to senior managers? (Is that goal understood by everyone involved?)

3.

Is it clear that compensation and performance ratings are not based on a successful outcome of the pilot?

4.

Were explicit changes made as a result of the pilot program?

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Organizing to Execute Traditional Telephone Selection

Conformers

Hiring

Learning before doing

Performance measurement

Did YOU do it right?

Empowerment

You can deviate from the script

Business Goal

Efficiency Now

Climate

Safety for checking

Casual conversation

About the weather

Organizing to execute backfires in novel initiatives‌

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Organizing to Learn Traditional Telephone

DSL

Selection

Conformers

Problem solvers

Training

Learning before doing

Learning by doing

Performance measurement

Did YOU do it right?

Did WE learn?

Empowerment

You can deviate from the script

There is no script!

Business Goal

Efficiency Now

Efficiency Later

Climate

Safety for checking

Safety for experimentation

Casual conversation

About the weather

About the work

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Essential Interpersonal Skills for Teaming


Difficult Decisions (and “Hot Topics”)

Different views are present – Some favor the launch – Some are against the launch – Often both personal and professional factors shape the different views

• High stakes – CEO’s interest and close attention – Market visibility of potential failure – Window of opportunity

• Uncertainty about future events – Technological risk – Hard to predict demand – Hard to predict the organization’s ability to serve the demand


Discussion overheard in BCPC Teams Leslie: “It’s going to cost too much if we do that.” Chris: “It’s going to cost too much if we don’t do that.” (exasperated tone)

It’s Hot!


Understanding Disagreement Chris’s Account of the situation HIP is a critical strategic product for us. It’s an essential part of the CEO’s vision for making BCPC a technology leader! Launching HIP in the Big City is a great opportunity for the company that will enhance our brand. The costs associated with the launch are costs we’d have to bear eventually anyway and are not a deterrent. Hence, we should launch the HIP product aggressively in the BC market under the BCPC brand.

Leslie’s Account of the situation The HIP technology is premature. Our infrastructure is not ready -- to do a full scale launch at the present time would be crazy! Our brand would be destroyed by a visible failure. The costs of doing it are much too high. Hence, we should not launch ourselves but sell our network space to others who want to enter the market now.


Naïve Realism “A person’s unshakeable conviction that he or she is somehow privy to an invariant, knowable, objective reality -- a reality that others will perceive faithfully, provided they are reasonable and rational” When others misperceive that “reality” we conclude it must be because they view the world through a “prism of self-interest, ideological bias, or personal perversity.” Lee Ross (Stanford) ©2012 Cutter Consortium


The Basic Human Challenge It’s difficult to learn, if you already know (It’s difficult to learn, if your perspective seems obviously more accurate than other people’s perspective)

Unfortunately, we’re hard wired to think we know and to think our perspective (our view of reality) is right (is in fact, reality)

The job of leaders is to help ourselves and others overcome this natural cognitive, interpersonal tendency ©2012 Cutter Consortium


Getting Unstuck: Leslie: “It’s going to cost too much if we do that.” Chris: “It’s going to cost too much if we don’t do that.”

When different views are present, conflict is inevitable… WHAT USUALLY HAPPENS? The question is: how to get beyond the impasse? Effective teams use conflict to trigger a learning process…

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Approaches to Decision-Making in Teams Advocacyparadigm

Problem-solving paradigm

Frame

A contest

Collaborative problem solving

Purpose of discussion

Persuasion and lobbying

Testing and evaluation

Participant goals

Strive to persuade others

Present balanced arguments

Defend your position

Be open to alternatives

Downplay weaknesses

Seek constructive criticism

Minority Viewpoints

Discouraged or dismissed

Invited and valued

Outcome

Winners and losers

Collective ownership

“Natural” ©2012 Cutter Consortium

Takes Leadership


To Bridge the Impasse: Climb Down the “Ladders” Operations Executive l

Marketing Executive

Conclusions

l

“We can’t pull it off!” l

“Let’s launch quickly!”

Reasoning

l

“The company doesn’t have the capability to do it well, and doing it badly would be worse than not doing it.” l

Conclusions Reasoning “The company needs

this new business, and the window of opportunity is now.” l

Data & examples

Data & examples Financial projections, customer surveys

Staffing levels, technological skills, infrastructure reports

Pool of Available Data

Working constructively with opposing conclusions requires making ladders of inference transparent. It requires a blend of Advocacy & Inquiry Source: Adapted from Chris Argyris

©2012 Cutter Consortium


Assessing Discussion Quality Real-time Ask yourself about:

Would you characterize what is happening as:

Your perception of the options:

§ Go/no go (Win/lose)

Divergent views

§ Not evident

Your sense of progress

§ Limited, or none: going around in circles; no one seems to give or change

Gaps in the arguments

§ Remain unfilled and remain largely hidden

Your learning

§ No real new insight about the issue, increased awareness of others limitations

©2012 Cutter Consortium


Assessing Discussion Quality Real-time Ask yourself about:

Would you characterize what is happening as:

Or, would you characterize what is happening as:

Your perception of the options:

§ Go/no go (Win/lose)

§ Multiple or nuanced alternatives likely exist

Divergent views

§ Not evident

§ Frequently expressed

Your sense of progress

§ Limited, or none: going around in circles; no one seems to give or change

§ Deepening understanding of issues, development of new possibilities or tests

Gaps in the arguments

§ Remain unfilled and remain largely hidden

§ Are being partially or completely filled by combining knowledge

Your learning

§ No real new insight about the issue, increased awareness of others limitations

§ New awareness of others’ experiences and reasoning and of the implications of each for the issue

©2012 Cutter Consortium

“Natural”

Takes Leadership


Two Common Process Failures in Team Decision Making • Failure to share, discuss, and integrate members’ unique information • Conflicting goals or interests that undermine alignment around the shared goal

©2012 Cutter Consortium


Aligned

Goals

Conflicting

Really Challenging

Shared

Distributed

Information Š2012 Cutter Consortium


Conflicting Goals and Interests n Value claiming vs. Value creating behavior

n Value claiming often crowds out value creation

n Are you simply fighting over how to divide the pie, or are you

discussing how you might grow the pie together?

n Are you focused strictly on your positions, or are you trying to

understand each other’s interests?

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Shared vs. Unique Information n In 1985, Social Psychologists Garold Stasser and William Titus

conducted a study that “challenged the idea that group decisions are more informed than individual decisions.”

n In groups where different people have different information about the

issue at hand, people tend to mention and discuss commonly-held information much more frequently so than uniquely-held information.

n The failure to adequately share, discuss, and analyze uniquely-held

information clearly inhibits the effectiveness of group problem-solving.

n They called this the “common information effect.” ©2012 Cutter Consortium


Common information effect

The “Common Information Effect” Person A’s information

Fully Shared or “Common Information”

Person B’s information

Person C’s information Groups tend to spend little time discussing unshared information

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Why doesn’t unique information get discussed? • Mutual Enhancement § Discussing shared information feels good! § Members are judged as more task competent & credible after discussing shared info § Shared information is judged as more important, accurate, and decisionrelevant • Lack of psychological safety • Deference to perceived experts • Air time: a few vocal members can dominate a group discussion • Confirmation bias: as conversation unfolds, it attracts more of the

same • Information is power; some withhold data intentionally ©2012 Cutter Consortium


Fixing the Common Information Effect • What does not work: • More discussion • Separate review and decision • Bigger team • More information (but same distribution) • Accountability for decision • Pre-discussion polling

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Fixing the Common Information Effect n What does work: • Team leader is information manager – Increase focus on unique information

• Suspend initial judgment • Frame as an information-sharing problem, rather than a judgment to be made • Minimize status differences – make it safe to speak up

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Moderating the Discussion n Fixing the common information effect requires more than

just building the right climate.

n Leaders (anyone can lead in this setting!) must actively

manage the discussion to draw out people with a variety of experiences, information and perspectives.

n Leaders must be directive about the team process,

without overly directing the content, to consider all aspects of the decision. Š2012 Cutter Consortium


Conflicting Aligned

Goals

Leader should “make the call”

Calls for Skillful Process Leadership

Process Essentially Manages Itself

Calls for systematic gathering of all information

Shared

Distributed

Information ©2012 Cutter Consortium


Leading Teams Many leaders experience a tension: I can make the decision myself and risk being seen as dictatorial OR I can open it up to consensus and risk loss of time or a worse decision

This is a false dichotomy! Effective leaders can and must invite input from the team – AND they can (and often must) reserve the right to make the call

Why is inclusion of others’ voice worthwhile? First, they may have valuable information relevant to the decision Second, they need to feel that they have participated in shaping the plan, to fully buy in

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It Takes Leadership To: n Surface and understand different views n Analyze and generate options n Examine implications of each, carefully n Reach closure

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Anticipating the Challenge: Is the Topic Hot or Cool? Cool Topics

Hot Topics

Accessible

Inaccessible or Controversial

Relatively objective

Highly subjective

Level of certainty

High

Moderate to low

Stakes Goals

Low to moderate Largely shared

High Differ based on beliefs, values, or interests

Data

Can you think of examples of topics you deal with in projects that were hot? Cool?

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Anticipating the Challenge: Is the Topic Hot or Cool? Cool Topics

Hot Topics

Accessible

Inaccessible or Controversial

Relatively objective

Highly subjective

Level of certainty Stakes Goals

High

Moderate to low

Low to moderate Largely shared

High Differ based on beliefs, values, or interests

Discussion

Reasonable, factbased, collegial

Often emotional, lack of agreement about which facts matter and what they mean, may include veiled personal attacks

Data

Š2012 Cutter Consortium


Think of a Current Hot Topic at Work n What is your account of the situation? n What data do you draw from to arrive at that conclusion? n What other views exist in the organization on the topic?

What data might inform those views? n What can you do to help achieve the best possible

recommendation?

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Essential Diagnostic Questions n Is the issue “hot”? •

(different views, high stakes, subjective/uncertain)

n How much unique information might exist around the table? n What is the level of goal conflict versus goal alignment for this

groups for this issue?

Answers to these questions let you know the level of challenge ahead for engaging in optimal team processes. The greater the challenge, the more important it is to explicitly bring a problem-solving orientation to the issue.

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Three Essential Teaming Practices


Three Practices that Build Teaming Muscle

1. Manage yourself

Slow down Reflect Consider own and others’ situation

2. Manage conversations

More inquiry! Explain your thinking and ask others to do so too

3. Manage relationships

Build trusting relationships across organizational fault lines

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Manage Self: Overcoming Spontaneous Responses facing Hot Topics Mindset in Each Paradigm Advocacy Paradigm

Topic

I’m totally right in how I see the situation;

We both can see things the other misses; and so:

The other’s view is wrong

I’ll look for the sense, not the

and this is obvious.

People

Problem-Solving Paradigm

The other is lazy, incompetent, or manipulative; and: He or she alone is to blame.

non-sense, in what others say.

We’re both doing the best we can under the circumstance; and so: We’re both contributing to the conflict

Thought experiment: Imagine Chris & Leslie’s discussion, with the problem-solving paradigm ©2012 Cutter Consortium


Managing Self Actions Reflect

Reframe

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Behaviors

Effects

• Observe your emotional • Cools down your reactions. emotional reactions. • Observe your interpretations • Increases self-awareness. of the situation. • Observe your interpretations of others’ intentions. • Think about what these interpretations say about you • Invent (and try out) alternative attributions. • Consider what you might be missing that others might see. • Extend to others the same rights you claim for yourself.

• Allows you to think outside the box of your current beliefs. • Allows you and your team to formulate questions and thus generate new data. • Builds the cognitive capability for seeing things from new perspectives .


Managing Conversations Actions Dig Into Divisive Topics

Examine Competing Views Carefully

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Behaviors

Effects

• Recognize others’ concerns and • Makes divisive topics interests as legitimate topics to discussable so they can include be addressed. • Acknowledge puzzles or “binds” • Increases team members’ that you experience, inviting others awareness of themselves to help think them through and and others. resolve them. • Deepens team members’ understanding of one another and of the topic

• Identify the core arguments behind competing beliefs, identifying the supporting data ion each side. • Ask what others are feeling and thinking and what leads them to feel/think that way • Examine how different team members’ interests relate to the interests of the team.

• Generates more data and a wider range of options. • Creates more powerful solutions. • Strengthens relationships within the team. • Builds the team’s learning and decision making capabilities.


Managing Relationships Actions

Build Grounded Trust

Target Key Relationships

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Behaviors • Build trust that is based on recognition of each person’s strengths. • Recognize the inevitability of mistakes (especially in the interpersonal realm!) and commit to learning from them • Ask for input and feedback.

Effects • Reduces the likelihood that people will feel betrayed. • Improves decisionmaking effectiveness. • Accelerates learning.

• Target for investment those • Makes it easier to work relationships operating along on cross-functional organizational fault-lines. issues. • Map patterns of interaction that • Builds your network affect the team’s ability to make decisions together. • Use conflicts to alter those dynamics that undermine the team’s effectiveness.


Why Curiosity Must Be Cultivated Patterns of Awareness

I am Aware of:

Related to me

My intentions My situation

Related to you

Your effect on me

I am Unaware of:

My effect on you

Your intentions Your situation

We can’t team effectively without filling in the blind spots… ©2012 Cutter Consortium


How to build effective work relationships “Seek first to understand” (Inquiry) • • •

Intentions: Other’s aspirations & goals Resources: Skills, information, experiences The Situation: What s/he is up against…

Then seek to be understood (Advocacy) • • •

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Your intentions Your resources What you’re up against…


Summary: Good Decision Making in Teams n A good decision is at least partly a synthesis of different perspectives n Team Decision Making goes well when

• People communicate openly about what they see as the strengths and the possible weaknesses when putting forward their own position/view • They actively seek others’ views, concerns, data, and experiences n This rarely occurs spontaneously in groups…

• It requires conscious effort to learn from others in one’s group • It requires leadership n The prevalence of difficult decisions is unlikely to diminish over time

©2012 Cutter Consortium


TEAMING

*

1. Cross boundaries to seek diversity 2. Cultivate curiosity 3. Make it psychologically safe 4. Balance advocacy & inquiry 5. Engage in self-reflection


* things will go wrong‌

3. FAIL WELL


April 1991, Georgetown, KY: “Seat Problems” at Toyota


2

Failure at Children’s Hospital A 10-year old boy receives an unsafe overdose of Morphine involving confusing medication labels, a new nurse, crowded conditions, & multiple handoffs

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An experimental chemotherapy drug, Alimta, fails in clinical trials.

* T. S. Burton (2004, April 21), By learning from failures, Lilly keeps drug pipeline full, The Wall Street Journal.


3 Types of Failures 1. Preventable Failures …where we, collectively, know enough to do it right.

2. Complex Failures … complex factors (internal, external, or both) combine in novel ways to produce

failures in reasonably familiar contexts

3. Intelligent Failures … undesired results of thoughtful forays into novel territory

©2012 Cutter Consortium


Reframing Failure Traditional Frame Concept of Failure

Failure is not acceptable

Beliefs about effective performance

Effective performers don’t fail

The manager’s job

Prevent failure and control cost

This frame leads people to hide failures to protect themselves….

©2012 Cutter Consortium


Reframing Failure Traditional Frame

Re-Frame

Concept of Failure

Failure is not acceptable

Failure is a natural byproduct of experimentation

Beliefs about effective performance

Effective performers don’t fail

Effective performers learn from intelligent failures and share the lessons widely

The manager’s job

Prevent failure

Promote learning

This frame promotes learning and innovation….

©2012 Cutter Consortium


Thank You! ü Aim High ü Team Up ü Fail Well ü Learn Fast ü Repeat

Power of Teaming - handout 2  

Amy C. Edmondson's presentation on teams (handout 2).

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